Our Adventures in Costa Rica

2 Week Costa Rica Itinerary – Overview

Day One: San Jose, Costa Rica

On the first day of our trip, we flew to San Jose, Costa Rica. The airport experience was super easy and customs was incredibly fast, we flew in fairly late so we went straight to our hotel and passed out.  

Day Two: Sunset Horseback Riding in Costa Rica – Monteverde, Costa Rica

Day Three: Hiking through Santa Elena Reserve and Curi-Cancha Reserve 

Santa Elena Reserve, Costa Rica

Santa Elena is a cloud forest reserve that rivals the extremely popular Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is one of the most popular locations in Costa Rica and is the world’s most-visited cloud forest. Because of its popularity, if you’re looking to see wildlife, it may be difficult. Santa Elena Reserve is in the quiet town of Santa Elena and is far less popular, making it the perfect wildlife scouting location. 

The forest here was incredible. The trunks of the trees were covered in leaves and vines, vines hung from the top of the forest canopy down to the trail, the diversity was incredible and we spotted so many birds and new species.

Curi-Cancha Reserve, Costa Rica

Curi-Cancha Reserve is another quiet reserve near Monteverde. When we got there we immediately saw a massive group of white-faced capuchin monkies hanging out in a tree next to the parking lot. Throughout our hikes, we so much wildlife from armadillos to coatis to a variety of hummingbird species. 

Day Four: Children’s Eternal Rainforest, Costa Rica

Children’s Eternal Rainforest is the largest private reserve in Costa Rica and we just spent the day hiking a few of the trails and bird watching! 

Day Five: La Leona Waterfall

Day Six: Rincon De La Vieja National Park Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Rincon De La Vieja National Park is one of the most ecologically diverse areas in Costa Rica. It is home to the Ricon De La Vieja and Santa Maria volcanos. 3 days after we left one of the volcanos actually erupted! We hiked to thermal hot springs, volcanic vents, mud pots, and saw anteaters and monkies.

After hiking we found a river on the side of the road and spent a few hours relaxing in the cool water.

Day Seven: Santa Rosa National Park and Junquillal Wildlife Refuge 

Santa Rosa National Park is one of Costa Rica’s first national parks. It is the site of the Battle of Santa Rosa, a monumental battle in the history of Costa Rican independence. We hiked around the park for a little bit, learning about the history and checking out the many iguanas. Then we headed to Junquillas Wildlife Refuge. We hiked through mangroves next to a river, where we were highly advised not to go in since alligators frequently hunted in the area. It was an extremely quiet park, just us and maybe 5 other people, allowing us to see so much wildlife, including a huge family of capuchin monkeys that watched us while we hiked. We spent the rest of the day relaxing on the beach and swimming in the surprisingly cold water. 

Day Eight: Travel Day

Day Nine: Tortuga Island Snorkeling 

We woke up in Montezuma, Costa Rica, and headed out on a snorkeling adventure at Tortuga Island. The guides were incredible, handing us beers at 9 am and inviting us to the local club for the big party happening that weekend. The boat ride out to the snorkeling site was spectacular, we stopped at rainbow rock and a shipwreck before we hopped in the water. Snorkeling was an unforgettable experience. It was my first time and it took me a while to grasp the whole don’t go underwater aspect so I did swallow quite a bit of seawater in the first 20 minutes. Once I got the hang of it, it was incredible! We saw so many schools of fish, a reef shark, way too many sea urchins, and so much more. After snorkeling, we spent the day relaxing on the beach and drinking fresh-made Pina Coladas!  

Did we attempt an underwater photoshoot with film cameras? Yes. Did they come out? No, but I love them anyway.

Day Ten: Beach Day in Montezuma, Costa Rica

Waking up we realized we had killer sunburns and were still exhausted after snorkeling so we opted for a relaxing beach day instead of more hiking. We spent the morning walking the coastline and checking out the smaller beaches in the area. The UV index was 11 by noon so we spent most of the afternoon inside, shopping downtown and napping away heat exhaustion. After the UV index started to decrease we headed out to the beach for some bodysurfing (or attempting to bodysurf)! We spent about 4 hours in the water trying to surf the 14-foot waves. Ryan eventually got the hang of it but I just got pummeled by the waves instead.

Day Eleven: Cabo Blanco Biological Reserve 

We headed to the first nature reserve ever founded in Costa Rica, Cabo Blanco Biological Reserve! We did a pretty challenging 6-mile hike through the tropical forest that opened up to an amazing rocky beach. The heat was so intense and we underestimated the amount of water we needed so by the time we reached the beach both of us were exhausted and almost out of water. We swam in the water for a few minutes to cool down then immediately started the trek back through the forest. At the end of the hike, I had really bad heat exhaustion and could barely focus on anything other than not throwing up. We got really lucky and ended up being fine, but it easily could have gone really wrong.

Day Twelve: San Jose, Costa Rica

Most of the day was spent in the car driving from Montezuma to San Jose. Before we went to the hotel we stopped by a local craft market.

Day Thirteen: Flight Home

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